The Kiwi summer is well known for beautiful blue skies and lack of ozone! We love our summer but we also know that we need to protect ourselves from the sun, especially our children. But how often do you forget to apply, or especially, reapply, the sunscreen?
Lazy summer days can mean that hours slip by unnoticed until those red hues start to appear on your skin!
Parents often admit that they find the job of protecting their children from the sun challenging, particularly amongst kids under five who have a habit of squirming away or screaming at the mere sight of sunscreen. Then there’s knowing when to put it on, how much to use, and when to reapply. Even if you cover your bases for the kids’ sun protection, you often forget your own!
The facts about our use of sunscreen
A survey of Kiwis n 2015 showed that:
- 51% admitting their children have been sunburnt
- The most common places for kids to get sunburnt were the beach or park (55%), school (23%) and home (23%).
- 58% of Kiwis get sunburnt each year (72% for those under age 40)
- 38% of those under age 30 sunbathe on holiday
- 22% of males don’t use sunscreen at all
When and how to apply sunscreen
- Protection from the sun is required when the UV levels are 3 or higher. Generally, this is between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm during summer. You can view today’s UV levels at the NIWA website.
- Think ahead! Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow time for it to be absorbed into the skin.
- An average-sized adult should apply at least: 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm, 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to each leg, and half a teaspoon to the face, neck and ears.
- Every two hours, reapply sunscreen – and more often if you are swimming or sweating.
- Combine sunscreen with sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat that protects the face, head, neck and ears.
- Avoid the midday sun and find shade whenever possible.
Tips for applying sunscreen to kids
Finding a quick and ‘whine-free’ way to apply sunscreen to your kids will make the summer go a whole lot smoother! Try these tips to find what works for you.
- Sing a song together while you apply the sunscreen as a distraction – nursery rhymes are great for this
- Draw patterns or images with the sunscreen before it gets rubbed in
- Try using a make-up sponge to apply the sunscreen – some kids just love the feel of it!
- For older kids, have them try and apply the sunscreen themselves for a bit of independence (with a final check for missed bits)
- Try different applicators, ie roll-on, pump bottle, spray
This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.
*Source: Euromonitor International Limited; NIVEA in the category Sun Care,incl. Sun Protection, Aftersun & Self Tanning; in retail value terms, 2017. Always read the label. Use only as directed.
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